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HQ 558008

November 16, 1994

MAR-2-05-CO:R:C:S 558008 DEC


Mr. Frederick L. Ikenson
Law Offices of Frederick L. Ikenson
1621 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 11434

RE: Country of origin marking requirements for imported valve body castings; 19 CFR 134.35(a)

Dear Mr. Ikenson:

This is in response to your letter dated July 14, 1994, in which you seek a ruling with respect to the appropriate country of origin marking for certain valve body castings.


Your client, Southland Marketing (Southland), intends to import valve body castings from Brazil into the United States for exclusive sale to its client, American Valve & Hydrant (AVH). AVH plans to use the imported valve body castings in the production of ductile iron resilient wedge valves which may be used in drinking water distribution systems, fire protection, or waste water systems. You indicate in your submission that AVH is fully aware of the country of origin of all of the imported valve body castings purchased from Southland. In addition, the outermost packaging of the imported articles that will reach AVH will bear a country of origin marking. No valve body casting will be sold individually or separately.

The imported valve body castings and internal components will be processed in the United States. The valve body casting will be conveyed through a shot blast machine which will alter its finish in preparation for the application of an anticorrosive finish. A powdered epoxy coating will be applied using an electrostatic spray.
The main assembly process will involve the installation of the resilient wedge assembly in the valve body. The wedge assembly contains rough iron and brass castings from United States foundries which are processed by AVH technicians and private contractors to prepare them for assembly.

During the main assembly phase, the resilient wedge assembly is installed in the valve body, the nitrile rubber throat flange gasket is positioned, and the ductile iron bonnet is secured to the top of the valve body with six zinc-plated steel flange bolts and titanium nitrate coated nuts. After two nitrile rubber O-rings are installed on the machine brass stem, the stem is inserted through the bonnet and threaded into the brass wedge nut. With the stem in place, a nitrile rubber gasket is positioned on the top of the bonnet, and the stuffing box or bonnet cover is attached using steel bolts and nuts. A ductile iron operating nut or iron handwheel is secured to the top of the brass stem. Following final production, the resilient wedge valve is subject to a fluid-pressure shell test and a pressurized, bi-directional wedge seal test.


Whether imported valve body castings used as component parts of ductile iron resilient wedge valves are substantially transformed such that the castings are excepted from country of origin marking.


Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. origin imported into the United States shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article (or its container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the United States the English name of the country of origin of the article. Part 134 of the Customs Regulations implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

Part 134 of the Customs Regulations implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.41(b), mandates that the ultimate purchaser in the United States must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

Section 134.1(d), Customs Regulations, provides that the "ultimate purchaser" of an imported article is generally the last person in the U.S. to receive the article in the form in which it was imported. In addition, that section provides that a manufacturer may be the ultimate purchaser of an imported United States article if he subjects it to a process which results in a substantial transformation of the article.

A substantial transformation is said to have occurred when an article emerges from a manufacturing process with a name, character, or use which differs from the original material subjected to the process. Torrington Co. v. United States, 764 F.2d 1563, 1568 (Fed. Cir. 1985), citing Texas Instruments, Inc. v. United States, 631 F.2d 778, 782 (C.C.P.A. 1982), and Anheuser-Busch Brewing Ass'n v. United States, 207 U.S. 556 (1908). Section 134.35, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.35(a)), states that
the manufacturer or processor in the United States who converts or combines the imported article into the dif- ferent article will be considered the "ultimate purchas- er" of the imported article within the contemplation of section 304(a), Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C.
?1304(a)), and the article shall be excepted from marking.
The outermost containers of the imported articles shall be marked in accord with this part.

In this case, the manufacturer of the finished valves, AVH, is the ultimate purchaser because the imported valve body castings undergo a substantial transformation in the United States. Customs has consistently held that valve body castings that are subjected to a manufacturing process whereby the individual components lose their separate identities and become integral components of new and identifiable products are substantially transformed into articles with a new name, character, and use. Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 734785, dated March 17, 1993; HRL 731307, dated February 23, 1990; HRL 731828, dated January 30, 1990; HRL 729335, dated April 18, 1986.


Valve body castings imported from Brazil which are to be used with other components of United States origin in the manufacture of ductile iron resilient wedge valves are excepted from individual marking pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1304(a)(3)(D) and 19 CFR 134.35, provided that the outermost containers of the castings are marked in accordance with 19 CFR 134.22 to indicate Brazil as the country of origin.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


John Durant

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